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Live ShowLedbury Poetry Festival 2017
Sat – Sun  1st – 9th July 2017|

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2017

Tickets are only available from the Festival Box Office (phone 01531-636232) or, from 18th May.
They are not available from the Theatre box office or phone.

Saturday 1st July

First Acts - Spoken Word on Film5 to 6pm   £Free but ticketed

Rural Media presents a screening and live performance of some bold and innovative micro-short spoken word films made by West Midlands based Spoken Word Artists for the Channel 4 Random Acts strand.

The artists include 1990s Chris, Paul Stringer (Beatfreeks), Aliyah Hasinah, Sipho Dube, Dion Kitson and Tom Chimiak.

The event and Q&A with artists will be hosted by Ben Norris (pictured - 2013 UK All-Star Poetry Slam Champion).

Ledbury Poetry Slam8 to 10:30pm   £9

Brace yourselves for a knockout night of performance poetry as worldly wordsmiths take the page onto the stage to compete for points that lead to prizes!  It’s a cut-and-thrust contest where do-or-die versifiers parade their poems in a bid to reach the hearts and hearing parts of the public.  Random judges award points for style, content and warmth of the applaudience, so who will fire on all syllables into the final and become Ledbury’s Slam Luminary?

Join heavenly hosts Elvis McGonagall and Sara-Jane Arbury for an energetic evening of good verbal vibrations and lend your support for those taking a stanza on stage.

For further details or to enter the Slam, please contact Sara-Jane on 07814-830031 or by email.

Sponsored by The Market Theatre
Sunday 2nd July

Film - Paterson3pm   £6
2016   (USA - 15) // 118mins

Adam Driver gives a beautiful performance as Paterson, a bus driver and aspiring poet who lives in Paterson, New Jersey, the town which inspired the epic of the same name by American poet Williams Carlos William.

Director and screenplay: Jim Jarmusch

Quiet, thoughtful and deeply human, this is one of Jarmusch's finest works - Empire.

Sorry - Film Club membership discount does not apply to this film

Monday 3rd July

Forget Me Not - The Alzheimer’s Whodunnit7 to 8pm   £9

Comic, poet and ex-psychiatric nurse Rob Gee presents a murder mystery set on an Alzheimer’s ward.

Jim’s wife, a patient on a dementia ward, has died from what appears to be natural causes.  Jim is a retired police detective and he smells a rat.  He’s determined to solve this one last murder.  The problem is he also has dementia.

Narrated partly by Jim, partly by a happy-go-lucky nurse and partly by the baffling Detective Inspector Rae, Forget Me Not charts the course of Jim’s investigation.

Film - Neruda8:30pm   £6
2016   (Chile - 15) // 107mins // Subtitles

Neruda is an inventive as well as playful film about the great Chilean poet and senator during his years of flight and exile in the 1940s.  Beautifully filmed, Neruda transcends the traditional biopic structure interweaving fiction with a surreal form of truth.

Director: Pablo Larraín

The Film will be preceded by 10 minute introduction by Adam Feinstein, who wrote the biography of Neruda.

Sorry - Film Club membership discount does not apply to this film

Tuesday 4th July

Inua Ellams and Fuel present8 to 9:30pm   £9
An Evening with an Immigrant
written and performed by Inua Ellams

Award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams left Nigeria at the age of 12 in 1996 for England, then moved to Ireland for three years before returning to London and starting work as a writer and graphic designer.

Part of this story was documented in his hilarious autobiographical Edinburgh Fringe First Award-winning play The 14th Tale, but much of it is untold.  Littered with poems, stories and anecdotes, Inua will tell his ridiculous, fantastic, poignant immigrant-story of escaping fundamentalist Islam, performing solo shows at the National Theatre, and drinking wine with the Queen of England, all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home.

***** - Matt Trueman,

**** - His words are incredible... The poems are just stunning. - Everything Theatre

Wednesday 5th July

Keith James presents8:30 to 10:30pm   £11
- a unique and breath-taking concert of Spanish Poetry set to music

The haunting and exotic poetry of the most celebrated writers in the Spanish Language: Federico Garcia Lorca, Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Pablo Neruda.  Their dramatic and sensual poetry, performed as songs and meticulously set to Keith’s rich, daring and fiery classical guitar, in a way that embraces the very fabric of these beautiful words, both surreal and romantic, until every tear is shed, every picture caught.

Keith James is well known for his ability to bring depth and vibrancy to his interpretations.
This concert is sung both in English and Spanish: it mostly features the Classical and Flamenco guitar.

All the tears of time are shed in a few brief lines - TLS;
some of the most atmospheric and emotive music you will ever hear - The Independent;
Keith James has become a pillar of trust.  A sublimely intimate and engaging voice - Sunday Times

A joint production between The Market Theatre and Ledbury Poetry Festival
Thursday 6th July

Theatre Tours International presents8:30 to 9:30pm   £9
Chopping Chillies
- An epic, mystical tale of love, loss and soul-food

Written and Performed by Clair Whitefield
Directed by Oliver Award winning (Morecambe) Guy Masterson

A big Fringe hit at Edinburgh 2016: From Kerala to Camden, a cobbler and a cook concoct a delicious transcontinental enchantment as tragedy and chance entwine.  Katie dreams of curries and chapattis; Ajna, of holy souls and reincarnation...

A delightful, poetic, magical yarn that conjoins the spirit of India with the heart of London.

***** An extraordinary, humbling story of love, family, loss, grief, new beginnings and unexpected friendships.
A delicious, appetising, spicy feast of a show!
- EdinburghGuide, 2016;
**** The imprint lasts long after the performance ends - Three Weeks, 2016
A joint production between The Market Theatre and Ledbury Poetry Festival
Friday 7th July

Midland Creative Projects in association with the Belgrade Theatre Coventry present8:45 to 10:15pm   £9
Beyond The Water’s Edge
- poetry from our world

Hear voices from around the world, distilled into poetry in this unique performance.
Midland Creative Projects take the words of the world’s poets and present them on stage with live music to create a celebration of our lives in all their forms.

Drawing from every continent we are given stories that move and inspire - from Sweden to Chile and all points between.  The drama of love, loss and re-birth mingle with the comedy of daily life, resulting in a captivating series of portraits presented through the words of some of the world’s best poets.

Directed by Steve Byrne from Interplay Theatre, Beyond The Water’s Edge uses poems published by Bloodaxe Books with music and original set design by Talking Birds.

Saturday 8th July

Air Poems In The Key Of Voice12 noon to 1pm   £9

A work of translation by Kyra Pollitt featuring the British Sign Language poetry of Paul Scott and the vocal gestures of Victoria Punch, with supporting film-poetry by Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron.

For Britain’s native sign language community, poetry is a linguistic, visual, kinesthetic and visceral experience.  Form in sign language poetry is created through play with language, space, image and movement.

For this work, Kyra analysed the image-rhyming in Paul’s poems to create a basic score onto which Victoria mapped a series of vocal gestures inspired by the Estill method.

Paul and Victoria will give a live performance of the piece.

For those who don’t sign, access to the content of the poems is offered through film-poetry simultaneously superimposed onto Paul and Victoria’s live performance.

We hope the piece will offer hearing audiences something of the rich, immersive, spine-tingling experience conjured by sign language poetry.

Epic Youth / Two Kids Lost3 to 5pm   £Free but ticketed

The culmination of the Festival’s outreach project with young people from Close House and Shypp housing project in Hereford.  In the first half, Jonny Fluffypunk will compère performances of the young people’s poetry, accompanied with film.

The second half is a showing of Two Kids Lost, a short action film recently nominated for the prestigious Intofilm awards in March 2017.  The film is a modern day re-telling of the Hansel and Gretel fairytale where two sisters find their home life with their dad and stepmother intolerable.  Young people were involved in all stages of the film from coming up with the concept, writing the script, location scouting, acting, shooting and directing with mediaShypp.  For this showing, they have specially created live poetry and music to perform alongside.  The film features poetry created with spoken word impresario Joelle Taylor in sessions provided by Ledbury Poetry Festival, and is jam-packed with visual and emotional impact enhanced by live performances.

Malika’s Poetry Kitchen9 to 11pm   £9

Malika’s Poetry Kitchen is a community of poets dedicated to developing their craft.  Founded in 2001 and based in London, the collective’s influence on the contemporary poetry and spoken word scene has reached far beyond the capital.

This is a unique opportunity to hear the work of two Kitchen founders, Malika Booker and Jacob Sam La Rose, plus Jill Abram, Rishi Dastidar, Seraphima Kennedy and Peter Raynard.

Sunday 9th July

Stablemates2:30 to 3:30pm   £9

Jill Abram presents Stablemates, a poetry salon with Roger Robinson, Nick Makoha and Seni Seneviratne from Peepal Tree Press.

Roger Robinson is a dub poet writing songs about common people and their plight.  He co-founded Malika’s Poetry Kitchen and King Midas Sound.  Decibel chose him as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon over the past 50 years.

Nick Makoha is director of the Youth Poetry Network.  He won the 2016 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and the Brunel African Poetry Prize in 2015.  He toured the UK with his solo show My Father & Other Superheroes.

Seni Seneviratne’s performances are a delicate mix of spoken word and folk/jazz song.  She likes to change hearts as well as minds through the medium of poetry.

Peepal Tree aims to bring you the very best of international writing from the Caribbean, its diasporas and the UK.

Versopolis4:15 to 5:30pm   £9
- A Celebration of Emerging European Poets

Versopolis is a platform that unites 13 European Festivals to promote and translate their most exciting new poets.  Tiziano Fratus (Italy), Charlotte Van den Broeck (Belgium), Nikolina Andova (Macedonia), Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia), Yekta (France) will share the stage with two of their UK counterparts, Kayo Chingonyi and Helen Mort.

This event is now an established Festival highlight.  Come and enjoy strong performers, writing vivid and original poetry that opens windows and transcends borders.

Enemies: Ledbury6:15 to 7:15pm   £9

The Enemies project, led by S.J. Fowler, has created over 200 events, in 18 countries, with over 500 poets.  Enemies: Ledbury will première collaborations written by poets both attending and participating in the Festival.  Expect original, dynamic new poetry, evidencing the open, inventive power of collaborative poetry in the 21st century.  Poetry lends itself to collaboration as language does conversation.  The poet comes up against something other than themselves in the writing of every poem, and in the shaping of every fragment of language there is a response taking place.  When the other in question is the equally avid mind of another poet, then expect the extraordinary!

Tickets are only available from the Festival Box Office (phone 01531-636232) or, from 18th May.
They are not available from the Theatre box office or phone.